International Book Club Meeting

I’m a book club dropout. Over the years I’ve belonged to several, but after a few weeks or months I become disenchanted and gracefully, I hope, bow out.

On the surface, it would seem that I’d be a book club aficionado. My reading habit is nearly insatiable, and if I only had money enough for food and books, I’d grow very skinny, but I’d have plenty to read.

I have a couple of issues with book clubs, though. First, I like to read what I want to read when I want to read it. I think if I could belong to a club in which we all simultaneously read a book of our own choosing and then met to exchange information about our chosen books, I’d be all in.

The second issue is that often the book I didn’t want to read, but read anyway because someone in the book club chose it, isn’t really discussed at the meeting. The group might start off discussing the book, but within five minutes the meeting dissolves into a purely social occasion. Argh.

I’m certain there are clubs out there that I would enjoy. I just haven’t found one yet.

Today, though, I’m going to participate in an international book club meeting via Zoom with several people I know from my senior year at Dumas high school. The instigator of this group, M.E., recommended the book, Infield by Téa Obreht, after she’d read it and felt the need to discuss it with others. I’m one of the lucky others.

M.E. was particularly persuasive, leading me to hurriedly complete the Peter F. Hamilton book I’d been reading in order to read Infield. I was quite taken with the book. It reminds me in ways of some totally different kinds of tales: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, and John Steinbeck’s story, The Chrysanthemums. The book also includes a touch of the supernatural, and I’d almost say magical realism.

I cannot wait to discuss this book with M.E., et. al. The meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. my time—a time frame that will work for our friends in France and all over the U.S.

M.E., who lives on the west coast, has put a lot of thought and effort into making this happen today. And honestly, I won’t care if we end up socializing five minutes into the meeting. After all, many of those planning to take part today haven’t seen each other since 1975. We visit on Facebook, but nothing like we’ve got planned.

Here’s hoping technology doesn’t let us down.

Peace, people!

Saturday Night Date

Studly Doright had an awful day yesterday (Friday). All day long he was on one conference call after another trying to make a bad situation better, soothing troubled waters, and solving problems. He’s good at all three. Finally toward the end of the day things calmed down and he could breathe easier.

We watched an episode of Ozark. Okay, we watched two episodes—the final episode of season two and the first of season three. The darned series is addictive.

On our way to bed last night Studly told me he’d take me out for dinner on Saturday. So now I’m wondering, will we eat at Kentucky Fried Chrysler 200 tonight or Pizza Hut Dodge Ram? Maybe we’ll go somewhere fancy, like Chez Lincoln Nautilus. Whichever he chooses, I cannot wait.

Peace, people!

An Unexpected Character

Last evening I was working on my novel, typing furiously, closing in on my thousand word target for the day, when out of the blue a sinister character showed up. Now, this has been the part of writing a novel that simultaneously makes me want to scream and laugh. Who the heck did this character think he was to appear out of thin air at this moment in time?

Throughout the night I’d wake up and think either, “This guy has got to go,” or “Damn, this guy is just the thing to bring closure.”

When I started writing this morning I decided to let him stay for awhile and just see where the story went. Friends, I think he’s a keeper. His appearance is the catalyst I needed to resolve an issue and help two of my characters work together after a devastating secret threatened to pull them apart. My subconscious knew something that I did not.

Isn’t that the beauty of using a word processor? If, after a few hundred words, someone or something isn’t working they can go away with just a click, either jettisoned into the trash bin or saved in a new file for another day or another tale.

And, I hit my thousand word goal before 11 a.m.

Peace, people!

As the Doorbell Rings

In the middle of the night I woke up and instantly began thinking about my novel. At 65,000 plus words, I can begin working out the specifics of reaching the finish line. But at 2 a.m. I panicked a bit. Maybe the whole thing was crap and I’d wasted hours of my time working on it.

Figuratively, at this point in the novel my characters were in calm waters—way too calm to keep a reader’s interest. I tossed and turned for an hour or so trying to figure out how to get their ships under sail again before I finally got out of bed to take a couple of Tylenol PM. Eventually I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until 7:30.

Studly Doright was already at work in his office across the hall from our bedroom when I stumbled into the kitchen to start a kettle boiling for my morning tea. My mind had already begun gnawing on the issue of the literary doldrums again, but still no resolution was forthcoming.

Then, as the kettle whistled, I recalled a recent conversation I’d had with my friend, Flo, who also writes but is way more observant than I am. I’d shared with her a problem I was having getting my characters to move. She told me to think about what happens in a soap opera when there’s a lull in the action: there’s a knock on the door or the phone rings or a letter arrives in the mail. Yes!

The phone is ringing. The characters are reacting. The sails are full, and I have a bridge to the end. Hallelujah! Can I get an amen?

Peace, people!

Studly’s New Old Bike

Studly Doright never thinks to take “before” pictures of his projects, and if it weren’t for me, there’d seldom be “after” photos, and that’s a shame. He does good work.

Studly has a fondness for rebuilding bikes from his past, and here’s his latest finished product. Trust me when I say it was pretty ragged when he first brought it home.

I forgot to ask him what year model this is, and he’s out riding it now, but I believe it’s an ‘83 model, XS650 Heritage Special. He’s done a complete overhaul on the engine, and did all of the detail work himself with only a little help from me—occasionally I had to shine a light into a dark crevice or hand him a tool so he didn’t have to get up from his work bench.

It’s great that he’s finished, except that now he’ll be jonesing for a new project. Maybe he’ll let me take the “before” photos this time.

Peace, people!


If it’s always darkest before the dawn, then is the opposite true?

Before the dark sets in, is that when the light shines brightest?

Maybe we’d notice then, and make ready.

But then we’d always be wondering, is this it? Is this the brightest light? How could anything be brighter? We must be doomed.

Or maybe we’d just celebrate the light.

Peace, people.

Discover Prompts: Light

An Oldie

I took a day off from working on the novel; however, I did read an excerpt from it to Studly Doright to see if it affected him as it did me. I’m happy to say he cried. Yay! Mission accomplished.

Instead of writing anything at all today I took the lazy way out and shared something from several years ago, when I was happily planning a trip to Guatemala for my niece’s wedding. I hope you’ll click on the link. Thanks, and peace, people.

Look Out Below

Underneath it all

Down where the anglerfish live

Time stands almost still

No wind, no tossed waves

Just days of isolation

And gullible prey

Below the surface

In the realms where no sun shines

Light attracts, light kills

Discover Prompts: Below

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